Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries of Ramanuja | Discourse 11 verse 38-55

tvam ādidevaḥpuruṣaḥpurāṇas-tvam asya viśvasya paraṃnidhānam |
vettāsi vedyaṃca paraṃca dhāma tvayātataṃviśvam ananta rūpa || 38 ||

38 You are the Original Godhead and the Ancient Person. You are the Supreme support of the universe. You are the knower and the knowable, and the Supreme goal. By You, O Lord of infinite forms, is this universe pervaded.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

What in the universe and all creation is not a part of the Supreme Lord Krishna –

He is the knower of all that is known and knowable. He abides as the ātma or eternal soul within all living entities. He is the highest goal yet He is beyond the highest goal.

All existences past, present and future, sentient as well as insentient are impregnate with the Supreme Lord who resides within them as the eternal principle in the form of the ātma.

Hence all such terms as eternal, unlimited, imperishable, indestructible etc. refer to Him exclusively.

vāyur-yamo’gnir-varuṇaḥ śaśāṅkaḥprajāpatis-tvaṃprapitā-mahaśca |
namo namaste’stu sahasra-kṛtvaḥpunaśca bhūyo’pi namo namaste || 39 ||

39. You are Vāyu, Yama, Agni, Varuṇa the Moon, Prajāpati and the great-grandsire; salutations, salutations unto You, a thousand times! Hail unto You again and yet again! salutations, salutations unto You!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is origin of Vishnu who is the origin of Brahma who is the origin of the Prajāpatis who are the physical patriarchs of all creatures. All the devas and any other kind of god find their source in Him as well.

He is known as Hiraṇyagarbha the indwelling soul of all living entities.

Comprehending the reality of all these things as part of the magnificently majestic pageant of the Supreme Lord, Arjuna with joy elated heart and eyes brimming with tears prostrated himself unto Lord Krishna again and again from every side with trepidation.

namaḥpurastād atha pṛṣṭhas-te namo’stu te sarvata eva sarva |
ananta-vīryāmita-vikramas-tvaṃsarvaṃsamāpnoṣi tato’si sarvaḥ|| 40 ||

40. Obeisance to You from before and behind! Obeisance to You in all directions, O You who are the All! O You of Infinite prowess and measureless heroism! You pervade all beings and therefore are the All.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is being addressed thus: O' infinite energy, the embodiment of everything, thy glory is beyond measure.

As paramātma or the Supreme soul He enters and resides in all beings. Thus He is the ātma or eternal soul within all the unlimited multitudes of intelligent and non-intelligent living entities.

All ātmas are of the same eternal quality and essence and all together constitute the divine, transcendental body of the Supreme Lord Krishna.

Thus Lord Krishna is the root source from which everything is manifested and all things are a part of Him and all names are a name of Him.

It is clearly apparent that the immanent nature and omnipresent characteristics of the Supreme Lord Krishna are the basis for the descriptions of His glory given in the previous three verses

such as He is asat the cause and sat the effect as well as tatam visvam ananta-rupa of unlimited forms pervading all creation and references to His being all the devas like Brahma, Yama, Vāyu etc.

Thus does Lord Krishna interpenetrate all existence.

sakheti matvāprasabhaṃyaduktaṃhe kṛṣṇa he yādava he sakheti |
ajānatāmahimānaṃtavedaṃmayāpramādāt praṇayena vāpi || 41 ||

41. Unaware of Your majesty, and either from negligence or affection, considering You to be a friend, whatever I have presumptuously said, addressing You as; O Krishna, O Yādava, O friend,

yaccāvahāsārtham asatkṛto ‘si vihāra śayyāsana bhojaneṣu |
eko’thavāpy acyuta tat-samakṣaṃtat kṣāmaye tvām aham aprameyam || 42 ||

42. …. and for whatever disrespect I have shown to You in jest, while playing, resting, while sitting or eating together, while alone or in the presence of others, O Achyuta—I implore Your forgiveness, for You are incomprehensible.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

In regard to not knowing the extent of Lord Krishna's glory, His infinite power, His immeasurable prowess, His omnipresent nature as being all pervasive, His greatness as the sole creator of all creation;

Arjuna is apologising that he might have through heedlessness, or folly due to familiarity might have put himself on equal status as the Supreme Lord

and out of affection and friendship might have addressed Him disrespectfully by calling Him simply as He Krishna or He sakhe O' friend or He Yādava which is the name of the family clan in which He appeared.

Addressing the Supreme Lord such could be taken as lacking in humility.

Also on occasions of jesting and merriment while sitting, eating and resting together if any impropriety or omission of proper respect was inadvertently committed then for all these indiscretions Lord Krishna is being humbly beseeched to forgive.

pitāsi lokasya carācarasya tvam-asya pūjyaśca gurur garīyān |
na tvat samo’sty abhyadhikaḥkuto’nyo lokatraye’py apratima-prabhāva || 43 ||

43. You are the father of this world, of all mobile and stationary entities. You are its teacher and the one most worthy of reverence. There is none equal to You. How then could there be another greater than You in the three realms, O Being of unsurpassed glory?

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The matchless, incomparable glory of the Supreme Lord Krishna is being proclaimed. He is the original progenitor of all creation full of moving and stationary beings.

Being the preceptor of everyone and everything the resplendent Supreme Lord is most worshipful by all living entities.

As nothing is equal to Him individually or collectively in any respect then it is not possible for anything in all of existence to be superior to Lord Krishna in any way.

tasmāt praṇamya praṇidhāya kāyaṃprasādaye tvām aham īśam īḍyam |
piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuḥpriyaḥpriyāyārhasi deva soḍhum || 44 ||

44. Therefore, bowing down, prostrating myself, I beg Your pardon, O adorable Lord. As a father forebears with his son or a friend with his friend, it is proper, O Lord, that You, who are dear to me, should bear with me who am dear to You.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

As in reality the Supreme Lord Krishna is the father of all, the best friend of all and the most beloved of all, being the most exalted He possesses most fully the qualities of mercy, compassion, kindness and other virtues.

Thinking in this way Arjuna prostrates the full length of his body upon the ground in humble supplication beseeching the Supreme Lord to smile upon him in benevolent grace.

Although the son may make an indiscretion the father may condemn, still the father will reconcile himself to him. Although a friend has defects another friend will magnanimously overlook them. Although the beloved is sometimes contrary the lover will not hold this against the beloved when asked to be forgiven.

As harmony and benignity is normally established as a result of humble supplication, Arjuna is imploring the Supreme Lord to be merciful, magnanimous and forgiving.

adṛṣṭa-pūrvaṃhṛṣito’smi dṛṣṭvābhayena ca pravyathitaṃmano me |
tadeva me darśaya deva rūpaṃprasīda deveśa jagannivāsa || 45 ||

45. O Lord! I am delighted that I have seen what has never been seen before, but my mind is overwhelmed with anxiety. Show me Your other form, O Lord of the gods! Be gracious, O Abode of the universe!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Beholding the phenomenal but terrifying form of Lord Krishna's Viśvarūpa or divine universal form, fully satisfied the curiosity of Arjuna but his mind was filled with fear.

So he humbly requests Lord Krishna with salutary exclamations of deveśa jagan-nivasa meaning: “O Lord of lords, O refuge of creation”.

The word prasīda means to please be magnanimous and transform Himself back into that benign form he was accustomed to see.

kirīṭinaṃgadinaṃcakra-hastam-icchāmi tvāṃdraṣṭum ahaṃtathaiva |
tenaiva rūpeṇa catur-bhujena sahasra-bāho bhava viśvamūrte || 46 ||

46. I wish to see You ever as before, wearing a crown and holding a mace and discus in hand. Assume again that four-armed form, O Thousand-armed one, of Universal Form!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Addressing Lord Krishna as sahasra-bāho meaning: “O' thousand-armed one”, Arjuna now is specifically requesting to see the catur-bhujena or four- armed form of Lord Krishna wearing kirīṭinaṃ or jewelled studded golden crown and holding gadinam or mace and cakra or discus.

śrībhagavān uvāca
mayāprasannena tavārjunedaṃrūpaṃparaṃdarśitam ātma yogāt |
tejomayaṃviśvam anantam ādyaṃ yan me tvad anyena na dṛṣṭa-pūrvam || 47 ||

The Blessed Lord said:

47. By My grace, O Arjuna, this Supreme Manifestation, luminous, cosmic, infinite, primal, which has never seen before by anyone but you, has been revealed to you through My divine potency.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna magnanimously expressed because He was prasannena tavārjunedaṃ meaning very pleased by Arjuna and thus exhibited His Viśvarūpa or divine universal form.

The word tejomayaṃ means resplendent and glorious, viśvam means all pervasive, anantam means infinite without beginning, middle or end.

The word ādyam means first, the original, He who was before and prior to all else and the words ātma-yogat means by His own infallible free will which manifests as His śakti or internal energy known as Yogamāyā.

Arjuna was the Supreme Lords devotee who by His grace bequeathed upon him the vision to see the Viśvarūpa which had never been revealed on Earth before.

Next will be explained that except by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion it is not possible by any means whatsoever to realise the Supreme Lord Krishna and attain communion with Him.

na veda yajñādhyayanair na dānair na ca kriyābhir-na tapobhir-ugraiḥ|
evaṃrūpaḥ śakya ahaṃnṛloke draṣṭuṃtvadanyena kuru-pravīra || 48 ||

48. Neither through the study of the Vedas, nor by sacrifices, nor by recital of the Scriptures, nor by charity, nor by rituals, nor by strict austerities can I be realised in a manifestation like this in this mortal world by anyone else but you, O Arjuna!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Here it is explained that not by study of the Vedas, nor by charity, rituals or extreme penance can the Viśvarūpa or divine universal form be seen by anyone who does not possess bhakti or exclusive loving devotion unto the Supreme Lord Krishna.

māte vyathāmāca vimūḍha bhāvo dṛṣṭvārūpaṃghoram īdṛṅ-mamedam |
vyapetabhīḥprīta-manāḥpunas tvaṃtad eva me rūpam idaṃprapaśya || 49 ||

49. You need not fear any more, nor be perplexed by looking on this awesome manifestation of Mine. Free from fear and with a gladdened heart, behold again that other form of Mine.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna consoles Arjuna telling him that he should let go of any anxiety, fear or trepidation that may have bewildered and perplexed him while witnessing His Viśvarūpa or divine universal form in all its terrifying splendour, for now Lord Krishna will reveal His four-armed form which Arjuna was used to see.

sañjaya uvāca
ityarjunaṃvāsudevas tathoktvāsvakaṃrūpaṃdarśayāmāsa bhūyaḥ|
āśvāsayāmāsa ca bhītam-eva bhūtvāpunaḥsaumya vapur mahātmā|| 50 ||

Sanjaya said:

50. Having spoken thus to Arjuna, Śrī Krishna revealed to him once more His own form. The Great-minded One, assuming again a benign form, reassured him who was terrified.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Thus did the Supreme Lord Krishna who appeared in the Vṛishṇi dynasty as the son of King Vāsudeva, divinely instruct the son of King Pāṇḍu and Queen Kunti who was His father’s sister.

Arjuna's mind had been extremely agitated and anxiety filled by witnessing the terrifying aspect of the Viśvarūpa or divine universal form. Lord Krishna to comfort His devotee displayed His four-armed form which was most familiar to Arjuna.

The word mahātma means great soul, He who is infallible with indomitable will.

The manifestation of the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the Sovereign Lord of all, whose pure spiritual body is Satchidānanda or eternal existence, unlimited cognisance and endless bliss, transcendentally accepts a human looking form to bless all the worlds.

The Vishnu Purāṇa V.III.X beginning with jatosi deva-devasa sankha cakra, gadā, dhāra states:

When Lord Krishna appeared as an infant baby in the jail cell of Kamsa in Mathura as the son of King Vāsudeva and Queen Devakī, He manifested His four armed form with conch, discus, mace and flower.

At that time King Vāsudeva very much afraid of Kamsa who had slain his six previous sons at birth prayed to Him thus:

O' Lord of lords, Thou art God incarnate. Thy form is divine. Be pleased O' Lord to conceal and hide this form!

In order to quickly alleviate the anxiety of His father, Lord Krishna rendered two of the four arms invisible along with the divine weapons.

Later when He grew older He went back to Mathura and slew Kamsa and released Vāsudeva and Devakī from prison. At that time His other two arms became visible and He resumed His four-armed form again.

The Mahabharata states:

The Supreme Lord, the son of Vāsudeva with four- arms, broad, strong and robust bearing the conch, the cakra, the mace, etc.

It was the four-armed form of Lord Krishna that constantly burned in Śiśupāla’s mind after Lord Krishna at her urgent request usurped Princess Rukmiṇī from him and married her.

As Arjuna was an intimate friend of Lord Krishna during all His royal pastimes this is the form Arjuna knew best.

Finally as a boon to fully console him He displayed His original svakam or personal two-armed form of saumya-vapuh or gentle nature being the same as all human beings.

arjuna uvāca
dṛṣṭvedaṃmānuṣaṃrūpaṃtava saumyaṃjanārdana |
idānīm asmi saṃvṛttaḥsa cetāḥprakṛtiṃgataḥ|| 51 ||

Arjuna said:

51. Having beheld the human and benign form of Yours, O Krishna, I have now become composed in mind and I am restored to my normal state.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

After gazing again on Lord Krishna in human vestige looking extraordinarily phenomenal with four-arms and then again as a countenance of beauty with two arms

lovely to envision with tenderness, grace, majesty and naturalness all sublimely expressing themselves ensemble and marvellous to behold.

Seeing Lord Krishna's human form so enchanting and delightful Arjuna's mind was restored to its natural tranquillity and he became placated.

śrībhagavān uvāca
sudurdarśam idaṃrūpaṃdṛṣṭavān asi yan mama |
devāapy asya rūpasya nityam darśana-kāṅkṣaṇaḥ|| 52 ||

The Blessed Lord said:

52. It is extremely difficult to behold this manifestation of Mine which you have seen. Even the gods ever long to behold this manifestation.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna explains His two-armed form is extremely difficult to behold and is very rarely seen.

The devas in the heavenly planets having heard about it are always hankering to see His Viśvarūpa or divine universal form but it is inaccessible to them and His two-armed form they have no opportunity to witness as they are unaware of it.

nāhaṃvedair na tapasāna dānena na cejyayā|
śakya evaṃvidho draṣṭuṃdṛṣṭavān asi yan mama || 53 ||

53. Not through the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by charity, nor by the performance of sacrifices, can I be seen in such a form as You have seen Me.

bhaktyātv-ananyayā śakya aham evaṃvidho ‘rjuna |
jñātuṃdraṣṭuṃca tattvena praveṣṭuṃca paraṅtapa || 54 ||

54. But by single-minded devotion, O Arjuna, it is possible to truly know, to see and to enter into Me, who am of this form, O harasser of foes!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Only by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion can the Supreme Lord Krishna be known as He really is.

Study of the Vedas, meditation, performance of rituals, extreme austerities etc. are of no avail in perceiving Lord Krishna as paramātma or the Supreme Soul within all living entities and realising Him as He is.

But by bhakti Lord Krishna is easy to be known through the grace of the spiritual master who teaches the true purport of the Vedic scriptures which all relate to Lord Krishna.

Only by bhakti is it possible to have communion with the Supreme Lord Krishna as the actual experience of ātma-tattva or soul realisation which activates one's divine relationship with Him.

The Katha Upaniṣad II.XXIII states:

“not by reflection, nor deliberation, nor concentration can Lord Krishna be attained. He can only be attained by one who He, Himself specially elects and blesses to reveal His essence to.”

mat karma-kṛt mat-paramo mad-bhaktaḥsaṅga-varjitaḥ|
nivairaḥsarva bhūteṣu yaḥsa māmeti pāṇḍava || 55 ||

55. Whosoever serves Me, regards Me as the highest and is devoted to Me, free from attachment and devoid of malice towards any creature, comes to Me, O Arjuna.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The words mat karma-kṛt means those who dedicate their lives to Lord Krishna. They study the Vedas, engage in meditation, carry out rituals of propitiation, perform penance and other spiritual activities of this nature; but all their activities are exclusively for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord.

The words mat-paramo means those who make Lord Krishna their ultimate shelter and goal of attainment towards which every effort they make is directed.

The words mad-bhaktaḥ means Lord Krishna's loving devotee to whom everything revolves around out of so much love for Him that one is unable to exist without always reflecting, remembering, meditating, serving, worshipping and praising Him etc. in one continuous flow without cessation.

The words saṅga-varjitaḥ means weaned from worldly attachments due to one having total attachment to the Supreme Lord.

The words nivairaḥsarva bhūteṣu means bearing no enmity towards any living being and successfully arises from three-fold considerations.

Lord Krishna's devotee's only happiness is being in communion with Him and His devotees only misery is when they are not in communion with Him. Hence they are unattached to all other living beings.

Lord Krishna's devotees attribute all their difficulties and afflictions simply as a reaction to their own past actions. Hence they have no reason to hate any being for it.

Lord Krishna's devotees have implicit faith that all living entities are subject to His sovereign rule and are under His complete control. Hence whatever comes on its own according to providence is independently occurring and not subject to anyone's motive.

Thinking in this enlightened way Lord Krishna's devotees are exempt from all enmity and possessing all these attributes are able to qualify themselves to come to Him.

The words mām eti mean “comes unto me” which denotes that one will realise Lord Krishna as He is and join in communion with Him in their perfected spiritual body which is the actual goal resulting from developing one's spiritual qualities.

hariḥ oṃ tatsat
iti śrīmad bhagavadgītāsupaniṣatsu
brahma-vidyāyāṃ yoga-śāstre
śrī-kṛṣṇārjuna saṃvāde viśvarūpa darśana yogo nāma

Thus in the Upanishads of the Glorious Bhagavad Gita
The science of the Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga
The dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna
Ends the eleventh discourse entitled
“Vision of the Cosmic Form”